Evaluating the effectiveness of problem-based learning as a method of engaging year one law students

Joanne Clough, Gillian W. Shorter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


The focus of this paper is a critical assessment of the effectiveness of a problem-based learning exercise introduced to increase student engagement within a year one, core law degree module at Northumbria University. Problem-based learning as a teaching method was developed by medical schools in the US and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s and has steadily grown in popularity, particularly within law schools. Presenting students with a reality-based problem, and requiring students to resolve that problem in teams, should mean that students find an increased motivation to learn. This paper explores the rationale behind the use of problem-based learning as a means of engaging students and will outline how the project was designed and implemented in the curriculum. Although both students and lecturers verbally reported an improvement in confidence and an increase in engagement, formal student perceptions were obtained through the use of an evaluation questionnaire. The paper details a full breakdown of the survey, which covers not only issues relating to student engagement but also student perceptions of group work and skills acquired.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-302
JournalThe Law Teacher
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating the effectiveness of problem-based learning as a method of engaging year one law students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this